Who We Are

ALISON KNIGHT
In 2018 I moved to Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor. I’ve been a legal executive, a professional fundraiser, a childminder and a teacher. At 45, I decided to learn the craft of creative writing. At the time my children still lived at home and I was working full-time, so I studied part-time. In 2012 I graduated with a first-class degree from Bath Spa University and two years later I gained my MA from Oxford Brookes University.

I write contemporary fiction and time-travel adventures, and have three novels published. I also run creative writing workshops and retreats. I’m an Intermediate member of SfEP and enjoy working as a developmental and copy-editor for Betterwrite. I love working with authors and helping them develop their voices. I’ve worked on thrillers, romances, crime and Young Adult fiction. I’m delighted to be part of the Betterwrite team.

 


 

GWEN SCHWARZ

Living in Toronto, Canada, gave me the opportunity to work as a systems analyst and holistic health practitioner and get my degree in graphic design, before becoming an editor. Those experiences helped me to learn effective collaboration with a client, to be detail-oriented, and to grasp the structure of written communication.

I transitioned into editing by chance. After finding numerous errors in a friend’s professionally edited book, I followed her suggestion of becoming an editor, a decision that led to copy-editing work and to joining SfEP as an Intermediate-level copy-editor.

My supportive husband and two grown children have taught me how to deliver praise while offering suggestions for improvement. What I enjoy most about editing is analysing the big picture as well as checking the details. I’m delighted to be part of the Betterwrite team, and if you’re an aspiring writer I’d love to work with you.


 

JENNY WARREN

My working life has encompassed teaching, outdoor pursuits, housing projects and social care but two years ago I decided to take the plunge and work for myself. I started training right away and was amazed by how much I had to learn about editing – and how much I loved it! I am now an Intermediate member of the SfEP with several proofreading and editing certificates under my belt.

I live in the beautiful North Pennines surrounded by open moorland where I can walk for miles without encountering another soul. I find this the perfect activity for ruminating over a tricky edit or a convoluted plot point!

I work as a freelance editor and as an associate editor with Betterwrite. I edit all kinds of writing, but my big passion is fiction and creative non-fiction. My recent edits have ranged across genres from romance to historical to fantasy. I read voraciously and consider it a huge privilege to work with authors and editors who share the same enthusiasms, so if you’re interested in writing or editing I'd be happy to work with you.


 

HELENA FAIRFAX

I was an author first before becoming an editor. On the road to publication I was fortunate to have a couple of wonderful editors. In the process I learned a lot about what constitutes a good edit, and now I enjoy passing on my experience to other writers.

Besides being a member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, I also have a diploma in translation from the Institute of Linguists. Translating requires many of the skills necessary in an editor, such as empathy with the author and an ability to find the right phrase.

When not writing or editing, I read – a lot! Although I spend many hours at my desk, I love the outdoors and my garden. I’m also lucky to live near the Yorkshire moors, and I walk there every day with my rescue dog. If you’re a fiction writer, please go to the Betterwrite contact page and hopefully we can work together.

 


 

KATHY SWAILES

Although born in England, I’ve settled for the last fourteen years in New Zealand – a place of beauty and soul. I live by the seaside with my two best friends: my husband and my dog.

In my time, I’ve been a biochemist, marketer, personal fitness trainer and now editor. The various occupations probably reflect my inherent need for change, but in editing I’ve found my niche, as every manuscript opens another door and takes me to amazing places. And I’ve always loved books!

I’m an Intermediate member of SfEP, I do development editing and copy-editing for Betterwrite, and I also post on the website blog. I love chatting, in real life or virtually, so if you’ve got any comments on my Betterwrite blog posts, I’ll be glad to hear them. And if you’ve got a novel to edit, I’d be delighted to work with you!


 

NIKKI BRICE

Hello! I’m a recovering lawyer who turned to editing in 2013, hoping it would reconnect me with the passion that influenced my academic background: literature. And it did!

As a copy-editor, I enjoy scrutinising the detail of an author’s writing, but my real interest lies in developmental editing; this is the stage of editing where the bigger picture is examined and the story is knocked into shape. Working with an author to achieve this is enormously rewarding.

I’m an Intermediate member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and I trained with them, and with the Publishing Training Centre, before launching my editorial career. Over the years, I’ve gained experience in a variety of fiction genres and non-fiction subjects, ranging from erotica to self-help books on photography, and everything in between.

Away from my desk, I’m likely to be reading, getting stuck in with my local theatre group, or running Shakespeare workshops at a nearby primary school.


 

ROB MATTHEWS

I got a big wake-up call when I failed all my ‘O’ Levels – except English! Taking a positive view, I decided I must be good at my native language, so I studied it at university, taught it in Africa, and wrote a textbook. Then life took a dip and I found myself driving a van, delivering the Birmingham Mail to newsagents.

My wonderfully affirmative wife sparked some ambition in me. At the Mail I moved from Transport to Editorial, then trained with SfEP, started the Betterwrite website, and had a ‘lightbulb moment’: I could copy-edit an indie writer’s novel, but I needed another editor for the development edit.

The Betterwrite ethos of collaboration and co-operation is the antidote to the solitary editor working alone on the kitchen table. We’ve got a diverse, multi-talented team and it’s great to work with colleagues you know and like – and meet them for tea and chat.